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CNN Tonight

Ron DeSantis Out With A Weird Ad; Democrats And Republicans Working Double Time; Legalizing Marijuana Is Where Two Sides Agrees; Elon Musk Laid Off Half Of Twitter Staff; Kyrie Irving Lost Millions From Nike; Teenager Won In 'I Voted' Sticker Contest. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 04, 2022 - 22:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thanks so much for joining us tonight and all week. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at Jake Tapper. Our coverage continues now with Laura Coates and Alisyn Camerota.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota in New York.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: And I'm Laura Coates here in Washington, D.C. and this is CNN Tonight. It's also, happens to be crunch time, Alisyn. And we're now four days away from election day. And if you want to know which dates are in a fight to the finish, well just look at the map.

You see all the big names are hitting the trail in the final days. It tells you what you need to know primarily about the race and states where frankly, every single vote will count.

CAMEROTA: And then Laura, there's this remarkable new DeSantis ad that we have to show you, that claims to know what God wants.


UNKNOWN: And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, I need a protector. So, God made a fighter.


CAMEROTA: My God. we are going to talk about that.

COATES: I hope so.

CAMEROTA: Plus, the politics of pot. Recreational marijuana is on the ballot in five states. Most of them conservative red states. Finally, an issue that's bringing Americans together, getting high.

COATES: Well, when you go low, they go high. Sorry, I had to. I don't know why I came out. It was a whole thing.

CAMEROTA: Good. Fantastic. All right. Let's bring in our experts on that. Here in New York we have CNN political commentators, Scott Jennings and former Clinton White House aide, Keith Boykin and Mark McKinnon, former advisor to George W. Bush and John McCain.

Gentlemen, great to have you. We'll get to the pot thing in a minute.

MARK MCKINNON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do live at 10,000 feet, so I know something about that.

CAMEROTA: That being high. All right. We will dive into that momentarily. But first, Mark, when you look at that map of where all the biggest names in politics are being deployed to right now from, you know, you can see, public Obama, Joe Biden, Donald Trump. What does it tell you about the anxiety levels?

MCKINNON: It tells me a lot. Tell -- if you want to know where Democrats are in trouble, follow, follow Obama. Follow Biden. Wherever they are, that spells trouble. They're there because Democrats are in trouble. And where you see Republicans going like, Trump, that's where they smell opportunity.

So just watch the map and it, yes. Look where Obama was, Nevada, Arizona. Biden is in Pennsylvania.

CAMEROTA: And he's in New York. Why is that?

MCKINNON: And in New York.

CAMEROTA: Why is it, why is Biden in a blue state?

MCKINNON: Well, because they're in trouble in New York. So, I mean, if that doesn't tell you everything you need to know about how much trouble the Democrats are. And if they, if they're sending the president of the United States to New York, then Houston, they got a problem.

CAMEROTA: I mean, let the Democrat respond. Hold on. Go.

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, and we can't say that anybody is in trouble when we haven't had an election yet. All we are looking at is poll numbers. And the poll numbers aren't necessarily predictive of what the outcome is going to be.

Every vote counts and the Democrats are racing to the finish line to make sure -- Scott is smiling over there. But it's true that every vote counts. We got to race to the finish line to make sure that we actually reach that point before you make any conclusions.

But considering where we were at the beginning of the year, Democrats are not that far off from, I mean, people expected this to be a blood bath from the beginning of the year because --


CAMEROTA: Yes. But then there was a time after Roe versus Wade that Democrats had that surge.

BOYKIN: Yes. Democrats had a surge immediately after Roe versus Wade from about June until September, early September. And now we're sort of coming back to the norm. And so now we are - people are realizing this is a tough race. We need to get every person out there. We can't take this for granted. And we, just because we had a surge in the summer doesn't mean that we are, we're on a roll. We have to run through the finish lines. It's correct.

CAMEROTA: All right, Scott, you're chomping a bit.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I actually wanted to respond to Mark. I see Trump's travel a little differently. Biden, I think, is being deployed for political purposes. He can really only campaign in blue states, because it's the only place where they'll accept him.

But for Trump, he was in Iowa this week. Big state for 2024, and he's in Florida, which I assume is a in your face DeSantis move. So, I interpret Trump's moves really more through the personal lens for him than I do the presidents here where he's trying to triage a little bit for long term.

MCKINNON: Although Iowa could be because Grassley is having some problem.

CAMEROTA: Except that, I mean, don't you think that Scott is right in terms of Donald Trump's motivations, aren't they --


MCKINNON: A hundred percent.

CAMEROTA: -- always true in the personal lens.

MCKINNON: A hundred percent. I mean this --

CAMEROTA: I do also want to show you this map of you all know, you'll remember that there was this risky gambit that Democrats made of investing millions of dollars into far-right what they considered extremist Republican candidates. And so, let's see if that has paid off.

So here are six races where Democrats did that, you know, rolled the dice on that. And it appears at the moment, Keith, that it did pay off for them. None of these in the polls are matching the Democrats?


BOYKIN: Yes. I mean, I think especially in some races in Maryland and Pennsylvania where the gubernatorial races in Illinois and the gubernatorial races, it was clearly a beneficial decision.

Whether it was a smart decision, I don't know if it was because, because of the fact that the race is so tight, that's $53 million the Democrats spent in the summer that could have been spent on focusing on turning -- turning out the voters for their own candidates in the party.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Ethically dubious politically effective. MCKINNON: Not in every case. The candidate you didn't have on there

was Kari Lake, where they spent a bunch of money for her opponent trying -- and helped elect Kari Lake.

BOYKIN: They didn't actually spend any money there. The Arizona Democratic Party they put an effort behind her, but they didn't actually put any dollars behind that effort.

CAMEROTA: Meaning you think they put money into Kari Lake's campaign?

MCKINNON: No. They -- yes. They tried to suggest that the more conservative candidate was better for them.

BOYKIN: They did that.

MCKINNON: And helped block the moderate.

BOYKIN: But they didn't -- but they didn't put any money in that one.

JENNINGS: The one on that -- the one on that list that I'm most interested in is Bolduc. He is, I think running neck and neck with Hassan. I don't know if he's going to win or not.


JENNINGS: But Chuck Schumer is outside group spent at least five million at the last minute, and I think directly caused him to get the nomination over a more mainstream Republican candidate. If Bolduc wins you can thank Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer for that one because that was a direct intervention at the last minute, and I do believe change the outcome.

MCKINNON: By the way, 10, $10 billion is being spent on television.

CAMEROTA: Interesting.

BOYKIN: There's also a philosophical --

CAMEROTA: Yes, quickly.

BOYKIN: A philosophical problem, which is that, if these candidates win, then you are the ones responsible, as Scott said, for making them win.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

BOYKIN: The Democrats really need to if it works, everybody is going to say they're brilliant.


BOYKIN: But if it fails, there's going to be a lot of heads rolling.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely. That's why I say it's morally questionable. OK, now we have to play you this a piece of this DeSantis --

MCKINNON: Get ready folks.

CAMEROTA: -- campaign ads.

MCKINNON: Get ready.

CAMEROTA: Fastern your seatbelt.


UNKNOWN: And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, I need a protector. So God made a fighter. God said, I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, kiss his family goodbye, travel thousands of miles for no other reason than to serve the people, to save their jobs, their livelihoods, their liberty, their happiness. So, God --


CAMEROTA: It goes on. It goes on for another minute and a half, basically. I mean, I've heard of messiah complexes, but this one takes the cake. Mark, what do you see here?

MCKINNON: I mean, I've been an ad guy for years and done a bunch of presidential. I've never seen anything like this. I think Ron DeSantis lost his mind in this. I thought it was a parody when I saw it. And by the way, it's a direct rip-off.


CAMEROTA: It's a direct ripoff of Paul Harvey line for line that he did for farmers and no attribution to Paul Harvey.


JENNINGS: He's hardly the first politician to engage in a little self-aggrandizement. I do think that --

CAMEROTA: This is messianic.

JENNINGS: I do -- I do think he's going to --

CAMEROTA: You think this --

JENNINGS: I do think it takes also a tremendous ego to not only run for, but to see yourself as president of the United States and --

CAMEROTA: And Godlike.

JENNINGS: He's showing himself to have it. Mark has been around a few presidential candidates as of I.

CAMEROTA: But does that -- is that takes a winning message?

JENNINGS: Well, I mean, I don't know if -- I don't know if this is going to be the determinant item. I think he's going to trounce in his race.

CAMEROTA: No, but I mean, just in terms of messaging, do you think that going to that level of saying that basically, God, you're the chosen one, you're anointed. Do you think that that's --

JENINGS: Do I think there's an audience for that? Yes. I mean, when I -- when I look at campaign advertisements, I'm like who is the audience for that. Do I think there's an audience for that? Sure.

BOYKIN: It's sad that there's an audience for that though too, because we live in a country with a separation of church and state, so we shouldn't be appealing to messianic application or reasons for being elected.

But secondly, there's another issue here with Ron DeSantis in that, you know, he's running, he's basically running for president in his ad. And he is feeding into Charlie Crist's argument that this is -- that he's not serious about filling -- fulfilling his term as governor.

And so, he's putting it out there. This is not an ad for a governor of Florida. This is an ad for a guy who wants to be president.

CAMEROTA: But I don't know if his supporters mind.

MCKINNON: Here's the bigger problem. What it says to me is that there's nobody around him saying no. I mean, somebody with some common sense should have said that's out -- that's insane.


CAMEROTA: Because you think that that ad will hurt him unlike --

MCKINNON: A hundred percent this blowback is -- I'm just telling you, watch it. The blowback on this.

BOYKIN: I wish I believed that was true. I don't think, at least not Republicans.


JENNINGS: I think something going on, I think the people of Florida like him so much because they have portrayed Florida as a, you know, like this is the model governance for the nation. They, in other words, they think of themselves as being elevated right now because of the way he manage this.

MCKINNON: I'm just -- I'm saying this just says something about his decision making. I can see those small circles. Watch says, this is great. Go for it. Do it. And you go take that to a bigger stage, it's problematic.

CAMEROTA: Laura, your thoughts?

COATES: Well, first of all, the reason this is probably a resonating ad is because it was the 2014 Rams truck ad where they played off of Paul Farmer, and Paul Harvey --


COATES: Paul Harvey under So God made a farmer. So, he knows what he's doing. It was successful for that truck campaign and there's always these ads. There was this ad in Washington Post. I mean, this, article by Paul Waldman about the politics of symbolic pickup trucks and the idea of trying to connect these dots.


And so, I think that he was obviously trying to appeal to what has won in a Super Bowl ad in the past. But I think also, I think he's right and they're all right. This is an ad for a presidential run. This is not an ad just for a gubernatorial race, especially when the polls say something different.

But at the end of the day, I mean, it does take, as they say, cajones to go ahead and compare oneself to being the anointed one. But you know, If you're going to tell people, I'm the leader of the so-called free world, this might be where you start with that bravado. Who knows?

Let's ask my panel here, Alisyn, all about football tonight, all about that 2014 game.

Joining me now is CNN political analyst, Laura Barron-Lopez. Also Liam Donovan, a former National Republican Senatorial Committee aide, and CNN political commentator Maria Cardona.

Let's just address this elephant in the room and not talking about ram trucks. But this was obviously a moment to say like, I can use this again, say 2024. He has his sites beyond Florida, right?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think, absolutely. I think it shows a couple things. The first one is, I think he believes that he is absolutely going to win the gubernatorial election, right? And so, it is sort of a set up for what he wants his brand to be going into '24.

But I think Mark in New York is right. There will be some blow back. But more than that, I think what it shows is exactly scarily what we saw with people around Trump, which is there's nobody there to say, maybe not such a good idea. I don't know if you really want to go there right now.

There's going to be a bunch of people around him that are going to, you know --

COATES: You're talking about yes people.

CARDONA: -- the people, of course. Yes. Yes.

COATES: The idea, but you know what you know what --

(CROSSTALK) CARDONA: Yes, yes people.

COATES: -- interesting. Speaking of that, I do want to play up because I want you guys to respond to this because part of the yes man or yes woman philosophy had a lot to do with what is scary to some people and the prospect of deja vu when it comes to 2020 election versus now.

Listen to what Mandela Barnes had to say about his opponent Senator Ron Johnson. He essentially says that he's petulant if he decides he's not going to concede defeat if he does lose. Listen to this.


MANDELA BARNES (D), WISCONSIN SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: He's shown us exactly who he is. He didn't commit to accepting the results of the 2020 presidential election, and that's because he didn't get the result that he wanted.

This is, I mean, it's petulant to say the least. A person who would go so far is to say, well, yes, I didn't get what I wanted, so it can't be right. You know? It's very arrogant. It's very arrogant. It's the height of arrogance, but that's who he's always been. That's who he'll continue to.


COATES: So, the theme of tonight must be arrogance, right? That's what it was talking about with DeSantis and the ad they were talking about. But what do -- how do you see it? Is the idea, is it setting up for the notion that, look, they've been talking about the prospect of it being widespread fraud in 2020. They don't feel it's been resolved fully.

Biden had a closing argument, Student loan debt was recently, but also now about democracy in peril. Is he picking up on that and essentially saying, look, even the president thinks that. So, Johnson is saying, that's where I am. What do you think.

LIAM DONOVAN, FORMER NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL COMMITTEE AIDE: Well, I think in both these cases, this is an instance of media bait. This is to launch a thousand segments on CNN talking about, you know, does Ron DeSantis has he gone -- has he gone mad. Well, no. This is -- this is about triggering the mainstream media. This is about getting them to question these tactics or question whether you're an election denier.

Because I think when you pick at these issues and they stick to their -- stick to their guns, it ends up looking a little bit hysterical. And I think --

COATES: You mean Ron Johnson, the idea of taking the statement or both?

DONOVAN: Well, with, I think with, that's the through line in my opinion. COATES: OK.

DONOVAN: But with Johnson, I think it's -- it shouldn't be a got you question, but it's become a got you question to acknowledge that one should, you know, respect the outcome of an election is an implicit swipe at the former president, which is not something that pre -- that Republicans want to do right now.

COATES: That's interesting you say that. The idea of sort of the got you. I remember when the conversation few years ago was always, do you have confidence in this person? Have you lost confidence? And that was always the way that question was asked of the press secretary.

But then you think about, Congressman Dan Crenshaw on the 2020 election lie, and he essentially says, particularly speaking of bait, it was a bait and switch. It was always kind of a lie. Listen to what he said.


REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX): It was always a lie. The whole thing was always a lie, and it was a lie meant to rile people up. And I, you know, I've talked about this ad nauseum, it really made me angry. Because I'm like, the promises you're making that you're going to -- that you're going to challenge the Electoral College and overturn the election, there's not even a process for you to do that. It doesn't even exist.

They have like, I was like, what the hell are we doing? And I would tell that to people kind of behind closed doors too. Especially a lot of the rabble rousers, like the political personalities, not even the politicians. We definitely had the arguments behind closed doors in the Republican Party before that.

But even just the others, they're like, yes, we know that, but we just, you know, people just need their last, their like their last hurrah. Like they just need to feel like we fought one last time.


COATES: Remember Laura, he was somebody who voted to certify the elections.


COATES: So, this is on his whole These Truth podcast. What do you make of that?


BARRON-LOPEZ: Well, look, I think that there's two big things right here that I -- that I want to point out, which is that there are ramifications to that big lie or to the lie about election results. January 6th and the violence that day was a direct result of the fact that the president repeated over and over again this lie. I don't think it's a got you question to ask candidates whether

they're Democrat or Republican, are you going to accept the results if you lose. That is a very serious question. Now we have seen where lies about not accepting election results leads to violence.

I was just in Michigan and I was talking to election workers there and ones who have been running elections for 20 years or more, they're scared. They're upset and they're scared and they're like --

COATES: Physical safety.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Yes, physical safety. One of the -- the city of Clerk of Madison Heights, I was just talking to and she said she now has cameras on her home. She is not letting her election workers put their last names on their name tags. She is now in constant coordination with local police in a way that she has never been before, and she's tracking external threats that the FBI might send to her.

Those are all unprecedented steps that did not happen prior to 2020. And they are happening and she knows they're happening. And she said it because of the election deniers that are running up and down the ballot in Michigan. And she said that if she could say something to them, it would be that those lies have consequences, that those words have consequences.

So, when someone, a candidate like Ron Johnson, as a reporter, it's my job to hold those politicians accountable, whether they're Republicans or Democrats, and if they're saying, I interviewed Matthew DePerno, the attorney general candidate in Michigan, who is also spreading lies about the 2020 election. And I asked him the same question, the question I asked Dana Nessel, the incumbent attorney general, are you going to accept the results if you lose?

She said, yes. He said, I'm going to win. He refused to answer the question. So, it's a very serious question that I think every candidate has to answer.

COATES: In fact, Alisyn, on that point, I mean, we've heard time and time again that's sort of pivot that Laura is alluding to. The idea of, you know, not just saying the yes or no, which is a very difficult thing for people to say apparently. And you could to, if the extent, if it was a got you question, which I don't think we collectively agree that it is, couldn't you just answer in the affirmative. Yes?

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, we also have a word for that, that we used to teach our kids. Sore losers.


COATES: What is that?

CAMEROTA: Sore losers.

COATES: Two words.

CAMEROTA: Sore losers. Don't be OK with that. Yes, thank you. Not just my (Inaudible) but sore losers.

COATES: I'm with you.

CAMEROTA: It's amazing how many, elected officials are now willing to be unabashed sore losers and say it out loud. So, so yes. OK. But Laura.

COATES: Yes. Well, we'll see.

CAMEROTA: Do you know what else is on the ballot on Tuesday? Pot? Voters in five states decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana, and my panel has some stoned -- I mean, strong feelings about that, coming up.



CAMEROTA: Pot is on the ballot this election day. Take a look at the map. Voters in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, North and South Dakota will decide whether recreational marijuana use should be legal in their states. Potentially joining the 19 other states, plus the district -- district of Columbia, where recreational use is currently legal. Four of those five states are red states.

So, what does that say about the politics of pot? Let's ask our panel. They are Scott Jennings, Keith Boykin, and Mark McKinnon. It says that pot is the great uniter. That's what it says. It says, finally we found a bipartisan issue. I mean, that is what it says. Scott doesn't like this one bit.

JENNINGS: I recognize that my views are in the minority of Americans on this issue.

CAMEROTA: What are your views?

JENNINGS: I think we are going to come to regret this. I mean, we need more drugs in this country like I need another hole in the head. I mean, this is a country that 40 percent of Americans aren't in the -- who are able bodied should be in the workforce, aren't participating.

We've got kids, you know, suffering from learning loss. We have adults whose lives are absolutely ruined and lost and we need more drugs in this country. We need some direction --


MCKINNON: Medicinal marijuana to make them better so they can go back to --

CAMEROTA: See, I do draw distinction between -- this is -- this is recreational, but I do draw distinction between medicinal, which is for pain management and recreational. I know you don't draw that distinction.

But in terms of recreational does -- doesn't Scott have a point? Like, do we need more people in altered states walking around?

BOYKIN: I don't see the problem with it. I may be on pot right now. I may be smoking weed today. I mean --

CAMEROTA: You may be.

BOYKIN: I have done it recently and I don't see a problem with it because I feel like I'm capable of being a functioning human being and productive citizen even while using marijuana, as are many other millions of Americans as well.

And I don't think that's problematic and the majority of Americans know it's not problematic. Even President Biden at 70 something has come to realize that it's not as troubling of a health issue, as Scott suggests that it is, and 19 states have already legalized it. If these five states do, it'll be half of the nation will have legalized marijuana.

That's a dramatic shift from where we were 10 years ago when Colorado, your state became the first day to do it, and I remember being back in the Bill Clinton campaign back in 1992 when he said, I didn't inhale. We've come a long way since that time.


CAMEROTA: We've come a long way since then. Now people are consuming it in drugs --

BOYKIN: And they're not ashamed of it anymore.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

BOYKIN: We shouldn't be, we shouldn't be ashamed of using it.

MCKINNON: I've done a lot of personal research on this.

CAMEROTA: Yes, tell us.

MCKINNON: I live outside of Breckenridge, Colorado where it was first legalized even before it was in Colorado. And Colorado has had 10 years experience now. There's no correlated increase in crime. I think it's way safer than alcohol.

And by the way, Scott, the reason that a lot of these very conservative states are doing, show me the money, show me the revenue. That's where --


CAMEROTA: Have they won you over?

MCKINNON: That's why these states are --


JENNINGS: No. And if any of my four children are watching this show, A, you should be in bed. B, under no circumstances should you, I'm going to look right at you, under no circumstances you should be doing any drugs at all. Say no to everybody who's trying to take you down this really stupid place.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's talk about magic mushrooms. So, they're also on the ballot. So, Colorado, your state may legalize shrooms.


CAMEROTA: And Oregon is the first state to have done so. And then interestingly in Oregon on the ballot now some communities want to ban them. So, they don't like that all the whole state has legalized it for their community. they want to ban it. Are you in favor of legalizing shrimp?

MCKINNON: Also done some personal research on this.

CAMEROTA: Yes, tell us.


MCKINNON: I think that where, that, this should go slowly but should be looked at. I think deregulation is on the screen and should be because for medicinal purposes they're finding a lot of medicinal upside for people like veterans and PTSD issues. That is that -- so I think more research needs to be done, but I think it should be done. It should be looked at.

CAMEROTA: And it is also for use for fighting depression and what they're -- they've done in Oregon is have it be distributed at centers. In other words, it's not for home --


MCKINNON: Yes, I think under medical supervision.

CAMEROTA: -- recreational, it's under supervision.


CAMEROTA: And that's an interesting concept. I mean, a lot of people, there's micro dosing, there's just all -- there's a new look at how mushrooms and psilocybin, which is the drug in it.

Every time I look at Scott, he's giving me --

JENNINGS: I'm sorry.

CAMEROTA: -- he's curling his lip at me. I mean, there's just, but Scott, I mean, all drugs are based on plants of some kind, and so if psilocybin helps fight depression, what's your beef?

JENNINGS: I'm sorry. I just, I've look, I know I'm, maybe I'm in the minority here. I just feel like a lot of this is trying to rationalize people who just want to do drugs because they like to do drugs and it -- and I just don't know where does this -- where does this lead us? Is this really what we want for our future?

BOYKIN: Do you think people should be allowed to use alcohol and tobacco?

JENNINGS: I mean, we -- we've crossed that Rubicon in this country.

BOYKIN: Well, but we get to make a decision.

JENNINGS: But tobacco use is going down, I guess. I mean.

BOYKIN: Yes. But alcohol and tobacco are more destructive than marijuana is. We know that for a fact.


JENNINGS: We're talking about magic mushrooms.

BOYKIN: OK. When we talk about -- even when we talk about --


CAMEROTA: Yes, but for medicinal uses.

BOYKIN: But even when we talk -- but you're -- you're against both of those though. Even when we talk about mushrooms, my personal because probably far to the left of every --

CAMEROTA: Tell us.

BOYKIN: -- of most people, but I think that we should decriminalize all the possession of drugs. And we should legalize marijuana completely for recreational and medicinal uses. But I don't think we should be targeting people for using drugs even if they are problematic for them, we should be trying to get help for those people in good substance.

CAMEROTA: What about dealing drugs?

BOYKIN: Dealing is a different thing. I think we should have penalties for that, but for the -- for the simple possession, I don't think anyone should be in prison for happening into have a drug in their possession.

CAMEROTA: All right, gentlemen, that was interesting. Thank you all for sharing your personal views on that. Laura?

COATES: Should I order your panel some munchies?

MCKINNON: For three of -- the three of us.

CAMEROTA: I like these counting me.


BOYKIN: Three of us, I don't think (Inaudible).

COATES: From what I heard Scott Jennings is not going to be hungry.

JENNINGS: I'll have -- I'll have a glass of water. That's all I really want.

COATES: There you go. I hear you a thousand percent. You know, it's interesting because of course, part of the idea, talking about crime being on the ballot, maybe an invisible ink in some places, and then red ink at other places.

Remember, it wasn't more than a month ago, right? I think that President Biden, had that proclamation essentially to say that the idea of possession or marijuana in one's possession and recreational or otherwise, that led to mass pardons.

It didn't actually mean that a light were released from federal prison if anyone, but still the Rubicon may have been crossed in that respect. So, we will see what happens on the ballot as well. Really fascinating.

Also fascinating that half of an entire company was, let's just say unceremoniously laid off, Alisyn, and now come the lawsuit. So just what is going on at Twitter. We'll try to tap into it, next.



COATES: Look, nearly 50 percent of Twitter's workforce was laid off today. That means their head count of some 7,500 employees is now down around 3,700. That after the world's richest person, Elon Musk acquired the platform, the self-titled chief tweet, according to his own handle, tweeting tonight regarding Twitter's reduction in force, unfortunately, there is no choice when the company is losing over $4 million a day. Everyone exited was offered three months of severance, which is 50 percent more than legally required.

A group of employees actually are now suing the company alleging the layoffs violated the WARN Act.

Kara Swisher, host of the On with Kara Swisher and Pivot podcasts is here, and Liam Donovan and Maria Cardona are both back.

You and I talked a lot --


COATES: -- about Twitter over the years and over the months, and I'm wondering, did you kind of see this coming?


COATES: And if so, like we talked about this. Yes. Does the way it actually unfolded surprise you?

SWISHER: Kind of jerky. It's, you know, there's other tech people. Brian Chesky at Airbnb did layoffs and was quite nice about it. It's never good to do a layoff. Right? And this layoff is, you know, people were caught unawares. There's all these roving bands of Elon stands in the -- in the office doing things, changing everything including editing documents, the way they like it and things like that, which is fine. He bought the company. He can do that.

The layoff is typical. I think it's a lot. And I think Twitter was going to do a layoff also. What he is paying, he has to pay, just so you know, the two months he has to pay. Under California law. It might be higher in Europe, it could be higher in New York, or most of the Twitter employees are in New York or less. I believe it's California or New York.

And so, he's going to have to pay the two months, the one-month severance is not particularly generous. It's what many tech companies do that and much more depending on the years and, but then they have to sign away a document to get that one month of salary and it probably says non-disparagement, don't talk about the company.


SWISHER: Tweet nicely at Elon. I don't know what it says.

COATES: Well, I mean maybe all the above. Who knows what it says, but you know, the WARN Act they're talking about is really talking in part about having to, well, as the acronym suggests, WARN, you, it's a certain number of employees and having given a certain lead time, people do with this.

But what might surprise people are the types of departments where they laid off people from. And I want to hear your reaction. Some of it includes the human rights department, the ethical A.I. marketing, communication, search, public policy, wellness, curation, trust and safety. That's a lot of different departments that are affected, and we are a couple days away from obviously a midterm election. And two years away at this point from the presidential and you say you've noticed something already in the air.


CARDONA: Yes. And I think what is most concerning about all of those departments are those are the departments that kind of take care of humanity, right? And there was actually a study done by researchers from Montclair University that showed that there was a measurable spike in hostility, vulgar language, hate tweeting against people based on their ethnicity, their gender, their religion.

And they actually measured it, like from the mo -- from the couple of weeks leading up to when Elon Musk took it over. There were about 84 hostile tweets an hour. The moment that he took it over from that moment on to noon the next day, there were more than 370 hostile tweets an hour. I mean, they have measurable number to show that.

COATES: But what are you attributing that to? Is it, is it the or not you personally.

CARDONA: Yes. COATES: But what is the thought that the assumption is he would have a free speech notion.


SWISHER: He's in search of people of testing it. That's all.

COATES: Just testing the (Inaudible).

SWISHER: Well, and they haven't changed the content moderation rules yet.

Right? They have not done that. And the guy who runs that real Yoel Roth did point out correctly that only 15 percent of that staff, the trust and safety staff were laid off. They definitely laid off in other areas like disability areas that are unfortunate.

COATES: Liam, what are your thoughts on this too? I want to come back to you, Maria, but what are your thoughts?

DONOVAN: I mean, to me this parallels the Ron DeSantis stuff. This is -- this is all about sort of, you know, triggering the media. It's about going after things that are seen as woke. I mean, this is, this is Elon's brand, right? He came in to clean house and go after things that are seen as me.

These are corporate departments that if you know, his -- the Elon stands as Kara mentioned, they -- the existence of these departments is mind blowing to folks that follow Elon and are along for this program. So, I think this is a feature, not a bug. I think he's picking these sorts of fights and it parallels, I think the control of Congress that was potentially coming in.

I think, you know, you're seeing it in, you know, some of the discourse on the right as advertisers flee Twitter. And you're seeing people suggest that in the sort of realm of woke capital and ESG and social pressure on these sorts of corporations.


COATES: What do you make of that idea? He made that comment earlier, he said about this.


SWISHER: Kept thermonuclear one, the people don't advertise with him.


SWISHER: That doesn't sound like capitalism to me. That sounds like communism. I don't know. I think what the issue is, he's angry, they don't like him and they don't want to advertise. Listen, if Satan had a company that they could sell stuff on, advertisers would advertise on it.

CARDONA: That's right. SWISHER: Let me be clear.

CARDONA: That's right.

SWISHER: They maybe say --


COATES: Who drinks coffee, you know.,

CARDONA: Or maybe get high.

SWISHER: You know Twitter is not a big advertising platform as you can see by the numbers. So, and it's not a big choice. And one of the things I think is happening is if he lets Trump on, if they leave after that, they look even more so. They're like, this is not worth our time and that --


COATES: He's made clear he's not going to do that until there's some sort of outside entity.


CARDONA: It doesn't matter. Right. I also think, to your point, Kara, I do think there are people testing it, but I think they're testing it because they see how Elon in sort of the runup to his taking it over was saying --


CARDONA: -- he's going to let Trump on. He doesn't think this moderation or taking people off is fair. He thinks it's an attack against free speech. And so, I think once he took it over, people were like, OK, well let's check this out.

The fact that they let go the moderation team is indicative that he is going to be a lot more, there's going to be a bigger allowance for that kind of hate speech.


SWISHER: And let go the whole moderation team.

CARDONA: Right. Right.

SWISHER: I think what it is that there's usually, like if there -- there's not thousands of these people.


SWISHER: There's 300 of them, 300, which Yoel Roth who's the head of trust and safety there. I think that's what -- he has other titles. Excuse me. But I don't think, you know, they just want to test the system. CARDONA: Yes, exactly.

SWISHER: And that's what's happening.

COATES: Well --

SWISHER: He's not helping by tweeting things out.

COATES: I was going to say, we think about it, the idea of we are maybe past the point, Alisyn, of testing to see if Twitter is a space where you can really ignore boundaries. So, I'm thinking about what the testing must look like at this point, because people aren't just dipping their toe in that particular pond. They are fully in and invested, and you just wonder what's going to happen when, obviously the wave crashed on others for collateral damage.

CAMEROTA: Look, all I know is that every day seems like some new drama --


CAMEROTA: -- ever since Elon Musk took over. So, we'll see what tomorrow brings, but it doesn't seem like things are evening out yet. All right.

Meanwhile, there's this. Because Kyrie Irving finally apologizing for not disavowing anti-Semitism after being suspended without pay, but the controversy is not over. And Bob Costas is here, next.



CAMEROTA: New tonight, Nike ending its relationship with Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving, in the wake of Irving, tweeting out a link to an anti-Semitic film last week. The company issuing a statement saying in part quote, "at Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism. To that end, we've made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will no longer launch the Kyrie 8."

Tonight, Irving will sit out the Nets game against the Washington Wizards. It's the start of an at least five game suspension over the controversy. After initially defending his decision to share the content, Irving issued an apology on Instagram late last night saying in part, quote, "to all Jewish families and communities that are hurt and affected from my post I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain and I apologize. I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled anti-Semitic instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish brothers and sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the documentary."

Joining us now, we have legendary sports guests and CNN contributor Bob Costas. Bob, great to have you here.

BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hi, Alisyn. CAMEROTA: Now that he's issued an actual apology, will he be back on the court after the five-game suspension?

COSTAS: Well, what the Nets have said is minimum five games, which by the way, since he makes between 35 and $40 million and it's an 80-game or so regular season, this is going to cost him into the low seven figures. It's going to cost him millions of dollars even if it's only five.


And the Nike suspension and could possibly be banishment from Nike that will cost him tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars, and he's a free agent after this year. He's only 30. His value is going to be less because team is going to wonder about him because it isn't just this.

It's that he, you know, he was a flat earther at one time, an anti- vaxxer. He's linked to stuff from Alex Jones, a despicable conspiracy theorist who pumps poison into the cultural water supply on a regular basis. And now this.

And those who are skeptical are going to say with some justification, he only came around when this five-game suspension, minimum five-game suspension was levy, which is going to cost him a lot of money.

And the condition that the Nets have set forth is that as of right now, he is unfit to be part of their organization. And unless --


CAMEROTA: But that was before the apology?

COSTAS: Yes. But unless he takes, and they still said this after the apology, they didn't use the unfit thing, but they said until he takes remedial steps, goes to counseling, confers with the Anti-Defamation League, and satisfies us that a lesson has been learned. The five games is only a minimum. So, it could be longer.

CAMEROTA: And what should the Nets have done? What should everyone have done? After he tweeted that link, it sounds like nobody moved with quite the speed and forcefulness that was necessary.


CAMEROTA: What, what was the right thing that people should have done here?

COSTAS: The right thing was to hold him personally accountable instead of making vague statements to the effect of, of course, we stand against hate speech and hate has no place and anti-Semitism has no place. the initial statement from Adam Silver, whom I admire very much, he has been a very good commissioner, happens himself to be Jewish.

The initial statement from the league, and Adam didn't mention Kyrie by name. It just kind of an anodyne statement that condemned anti- Semitism and hate speech. Finally, they came around. Partly because Kyrie kept digging himself in deeper.

Jerry Brewer, who's a very good columnist in the Washington Post this morning, described him as both delusional and defiant.

And he did a sort of, impromptu press conference with the basketball press, I guess night before last, or maybe it was last night. And he just dug himself in deeper with some sort of weird word salad. And I think at that point, they realized there was no way to distance themselves or to try to split the difference that they had to just flat out come down on him than they did.

CAMEROTA: If Kyrie Irving, let's say that he does harbor some conflicted feelings about Jewish people. Let's say that this is a teachable moment. Let's say they do some therapy or some mediation or whatever.


CAMEROTA: Can he be redeemed?

COSTAS: Anybody can be redeemed in theory from almost anything if the redemption is sincere, if they've truly learned something. Given his prominence, I guess he could be what he claims to be and really hasn't been some sort of beacon of light. Somebody who's illuminating important issues for people.

Well, if there are people who share his viewpoint, and sadly, although Twitter shouldn't be viewed as a Pew poll, but we're told that there's a whole lot of support for Kyrie and for Kanye West and anti-Jewish stuff now that Twitter has taken some of the restrictions off in the name of free speech, that there's a lot of support for this.

Now, it may be in wrong numbers a lot. And we hope percentage of the population, it's actually small, but it's out there. And if those people can be set straight, at least in part by a redeemed Kyrie Irving or, and now we're really into wishful thinking a redeemed Kanye West because they both seem to be on another planet.

But if it can happen, yes, you could -- you could turn a bad situation around for the better. It's always possible.

CAMEROTA: Bob, great to have you here. Always great to talk to you.

COSTAS: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We really appreciate it.

Laura, your thoughts?

COATES: Yes. So important to hear his insight. I mean, just thinking about all the different controversies over the years. I mean, we are really out of fork in the road, so the question will be, where things go from here. I mean, will there be opportunity course correct and use the platform in a way that's productive? I certainly hope so. CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, Twitter isn't known for productive discourse always.

COATES: Well, I mean the actual players and the epiphany of --


COATES: -- maybe doing the right thing and that way. I'm not as hopeful about course correction in all fields. That is true. We'll see.


COATES: Well, you know, listen, how about this? Speaking about the youth and what they can teach us, even though he can't vote, a 14- year-old is making his mark on election day. And Alisyn, we're going to tell you all about it. It's a personal --


CAMEROTA: My favorite story. Favorite story of the day.

COATES: It's coming up, next.



COATES: So, election day is just four days away, but early voters are already getting a chance to collect those very coveted I voted stickers. And in Ulster County, New York, been looking a little bit different this year, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, well here are some of the entries that teenagers sent in from the I voted sticker youth design. So, you see I voted there.


COATES: Perfectly normal. Love it.

CAMEROTA: Perfectly normal, patriotic. There's an eagle. You see some flag colors, red, white, and blue. Here's the entry that won. OK. I'd like you to look at that sticker. That's the one that won. It is so awesome on so many levels. It is colorful. It has six legs. It has bulging eyes and creepy teeth.

This is from 14-year-old Hudson Rowan. He received more than 200,000 votes in this contest, Laura.

COATES: I love the creativity and I'm telling you, I love it. I think -- I think it's, I, you know what? It makes you stop in luck. It makes you stop and wonder, honestly, who did you vote for?


And beyond -- COATES: But that is the question. Who was your vote?

CAMEROTA: I also feel that on every level it captures the spirit of these midterms, which is terrifying, creepy and absurd.


COATES: And also --

CAMEROTA: Still, that captures it.

COATES: I mean, look at that. Like a spider. Maybe it's a web of lies. Maybe it's the over caffeinated bulging looking at polls all night long. I mean, who, maybe it's the laugh, the maniacal laugh we'll all have all around one o'clock in the morning on Tuesday when we're thinking, are we asleep or are we awake? Do we have a winner? Probably. There it is.

CAMEROTA: Fourteen-year-old Hudson Rowan who made this said it gives off a chaotic vibe. Yes, it does, Hudson.

COATES: I like it.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it does. All right. Tell us what you think. What does that I voted sticker say to you about the midterms? You can tweet us at the Laura Coates and at Alisyn Camerota, hash tag CNN sound off. And we'll be right back.



COATES: The crucial midterm elections are coming down to the wire. Candidates have just four days now to make their very final pitch to voters before they head to the polls crying times.